The sport is called “football,” even though only one player regularly actually kicks the ball: the kicker. Here are some guys who joined the NFL because of their kicks…but had a hard time kicking it.
The extra point or “point after touchdown” is so named because it’s basically a free point. A team scores a touchdown for six points and then they bring out the kicker to knock a short kick through the uprights for one more point. But kickers do occasionally miss it. On Sunday, November 20, 2016, there was something in the air…preventing kickers from hitting those point-after-touchdowns. A record 12 extra points failed that day…after racking up six misses league-wide the week before. This might be because the 2016 was only the second year of the kick happening on the 15-yard line instead of the 2-yard line.
Bob Timberlake is remembered by Michigan Wolverines fans and alumni as one of the greatest quarterbacks in team history. He led the team to a victory in the 1965 Rose Bowl, was named an All-American, passed for more than 1,500 years and finished fourth in Heisman Trophy voting. Timberlake is also remembered as one of the worst kickers and punters in NFL history. He’d been Michigan’s placekicker as well as QB, and that’s where the New York Giants decided to use him. In the 1965 season, he nailed his first field goal…then missed the next 14 in a row.
Paul Hornung is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame…as a running back. It’s good he focused on that position, because he was a terrible kicker. In the 1964 season, Hornung missed a whopping 26 field goals.
K. Roberto Aguayo
Kickers are utility players who don’t generally go very high in the NFL Draft — unlike big-time points scorers like quarterbacks and wide receivers. Nevertheless, in 2016, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers wanted kicker K. Roberto Aguayo so bad that they traded two lower picks for a higher draft position to nab Aguayo, a star at Florida State University and the third-most accurate kicker in college football history. He never found his footing, finishing the 2016 NFL season with the worst field goal percentage in the league (71 percent). In the first preseason game of 2017, he missed a field goal attempt…and an extra point. Then the Bucs cut him.